The Diocese of Jefferson City

A Case Study of Clergy Sexual Abuse

Monday, May 20, 2013

Childproof 43: Threats of Arrest and Prosecution Fulminate as Victims Call on Bishop Gaydos


 

Page 43
 

Dear Bishop Gaydos:
 
Bishop John R. Gaydos seems to rely on
the political agenda that inspired the
Emperor of Lilliput, characterized as
King Bombo (right) in the iconic
Max Fleischer cartoon.
Exactly twelve months ago, when
we delivered a bound copy of
Thy Child’s Face to the
Chancery,
we were threatened
with arrest and prosecution for
criminal trespass.  Now that we
have had the opportunity to
absorb the full impact of your
“shock and awe” response to
our attempt to reach out to you,
we thought it time to revisit that
event and discuss in greater
detail your attitude toward the
victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Sunshine and humidity greeted us on Monday, 7 May 2012, to mark the 10th anniversary of the closing of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary and the resignation of Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell as bishop of Palm Beach, Fla.  We looked forward to our 10:00 a.m. press conference at the Cathedral of St. Joseph as an opportunity to disclose in a public forum for the first time some of the details that dot the history of clergy sexual abuse in the Diocese of Jefferson City.  Delivering a copy of the report, which we entitled Thy Child’s Face, to you and Msgr. Gregory L. Higley followed our public relations exercise.

The Lilliputians attempted to silence Lemuel Gulliver with slings
and arrows to the amusement of their would-be victim.
 
Bishop Gaydos Blackballs Victims
Like Lemuel Gulliver, we hoped to bring reason and understanding
to your kingdom on the banks of the Missouri River.  We hoped to highlight the absurdity of your position, which mirrors the Big-Endian and Little-Endian Controversy as described by Swift in his 18th Century masterpiece.

Similarly we experienced a reception as described by Jonathan
Swift in his groundbreaking satire:  a volley of slings and arrows.  The difference between the Bishop of Jefferson City and the Emperor of
Lilliput — Golbasto Momarem Evlame Gurdilo Shefin Mully Ully Gue — is as disconcerting as it is comparable.

The communications strategy of the
Rev. Mr. Dan Joseph is as comical as
that of Gabby, the Town Crier, in the
Max Fleischer rendition of the Gulliver’s
Travels.  As the chief communications
officer of the Diocese of Jefferson
City, Mo., one would hope for a
professional outreach program
when dealing with the victims of
clergy sex abuse rather than acting
like the gatekeeper for a Mormon
polygamist compound or a
Scientologist defense technician
debunking criticism of L. Ron
Hubbard’s Sea Org boot camp
for kids
We began our press conference
in the parking of the Cathedral
of St. Joseph.  The presentation
was interrupted by a mustachioed
Muppet who shouted at the
reporters and videographers to
stop their cameras and threatened
us with police action for
trespassing.  The fulminating
bantam, Dan Joyce, director of
communications for the diocese,
proved to be a grim pastoral
caregiver (he is a church deacon,
no less); an embarrassment to
the legal profession (he is an
attorney); and a failure at
public relations (he has a B.A.
in journalism, Marquette
University, 1975).

Frustrated by our presence, the Rev. Mr. Joyce began to flash us with his cell phone camera:  a weak attempt at distraction.  He then pulled out his digital voice recorder from his pocket and thrust it forward, mumbling all the while. 

Diocese Bars Chancery and Threatens to Arrest Abuse Victims 
As the press conference continued he interrupted the conversation again, shouting that any attempt to enter the Chancery to deliver a copy of Thy Child’s Face would be met with an arrest warrant.  He further stated that neither you, Bishop Gaydos, nor Msgr. Gregory L. Higley would accept a copy of the report.

At some point Mr. Joyce shouted that if we tried to deliver a copy of our report to the chancery office we would be denied entrance and he guarantee an arrest warrant would be issued.  Again, we waited for him to calm down before we continued with our presentation.  The rolling cameras and tape recorders may have nurtured his silence. 

Predatory Priests Identified in Public Forum for the First Time
We, then, identified in this public forum, for the first time, six child predators who have been protected by the Diocese of Jefferson City for three decades or more.  These predatory priests are:
 


The Msgr. Charles H. Patterson (right), the
first rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Preparatory
Seminary, Hannibal, Mo., consecrated the
chapel in 1959 by inserting the relics of saints
in the main altar. 
Msgr. Francis G. Gilgannon
(1929-2004) assisted at the ceremony.
 
Rev: Frank D. Westhoff:  13 September 1933-7 January 2006;  Ordained 27 May 1961, Diocese of Springfield, Ill.

Rev. Robert G. Scobee:  Deceased 30 April 1979.  Ordained 1937, Diocese of Kansas City, Mo.

Rev. Sean J. Smythe:  Deceased 17 August 1990.  Ordained 1959, Diocese of Jefferson City.

Rev. James J. Mohan:  Deceased, 17 March 1990; Ordained 1959, Diocese of Jefferson City.

Msgr. Charles H. Patterson:  22 August 1924-6 May 2010; Ordained
12 May 1951, Diocese of Kansas City, Mo.  On 27 July 1957, Patterson was appointed as the first rectors of St. Thomas Aquinas Preparatory Seminary, Hannibal, Mo.  He also was O’Connell’s immediate predecessor as director of vocations for the diocese.

 

When the Rev. David G. Buescher (right) passed away in
February in Jefferson City, Mo., the bishop of Lafayette, Ind.,
Timothy L. Doherty, was forced to defend the Rev. Patrick R.
Click child sexual molestation allegations as a seminarian
working at the Madonna Manor orphanage in New Orleans, La. 
Click and Buescher were college students at the Catholic
University of America, Washington, D.C., when they worked
their summer holidays in the Big Easy.  Bishop John R. Gaydos
and Doherty
s predecessor orchestrated a secret settlement
with on victim of the child sex scandal at Madonna Manor. 
According to news reports from Lafayette and Indianapolis,
Doherty failed to notify the Click's parishioners and the public
of the settlement.  But he did attribute Click
s connection to
the pedophile priest scandal as a case of
mistaken identity.
Gaydos has never refuted the account published in Thy Childs
Face and did not defend Buescher when the facts of the case
were disclosed to the media on 7 May 2012.  Perhaps Bishop
Dorherty should reconsider the old canard he has trotted out
to shield Click and deceive churchgoers and the public alike.
  
Rev. David G. Buescher:  6 January 1946-3 February 3, 2013;  Ordained 22 May 1971, Diocese of Jefferson City.  We remind our readers that Bishop Gaydos kept Buescher’s secret for more than a decade, despite the fact that the diocese is a party to a $75,000 settlement to one of his victims.

A former St. Thomas Seminary faculty member (24 August 1971-15 July 1977), Buescher remained on the payroll and benefited from a rent-free living the last 15 years of his life in a house owned by the diocese at 708 Marshall, Jefferson City. 

Unusual Obituary Highlights Predator’s Assignments in Detail
In addition, Gaydos allowed Buescher to deceive former parishioners who celebrated his 40th anniversary as a priest: a career riddled with drug abuse, gambling, and similar low-life activity (Buescher was assigned to an international parish in The Netherlands to escape gambling debts).  And yet, Buescher received a warm send off with a funeral at the Cathedral of St. Joseph; unlike his patron, Anthony J. O’Connell, who was unceremoniously dumped into a grave with no mention of his demise.

We have to wonder about the secrets Buescher possessed that allowed you, Bishop Gaydos, to trick the parishioners at St. Anthony Church, Camdenton, who gathered to celebrate this man’s 40-year career as a priest.  We also have to consider the power of this information that led McAuliffe to  transfer Buescher to The Netherlands, a country that has decriminalized recreational drug use and become a venue for the transportation of cocaine, heroine, and amphetamines.  During Buescher’s four-year-tenure in The Netherlands, the Dutch lowered age of consent to 12, legally permitting sexual intercourse between adults and children (the statute was in effect 1990-2002). 

One of the interesting aspects about Buescher’s death is his
published obituary and the intricate detail that chronicles his assignment history.  A typical obituary may include some career highlights and generalized dates, but Buescher’s is a pinpointed chronology tracked to the day and date of each assignment and transfer.  Buescher’s  career history is atypical for a parish priest;
and we suspect
that this information is a message of support for victims of clergy sexual abuse in that it is a roadmap for those yet unable to acknowledge their past:
 


“Father Buescher was appointed Temporary Associate
of St. Martin Parish in St. Martins, Missouri, from
July 10-August 8, 1971.  He was on faculty at
St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Hannibal from
August 24, 1971-July 15, 1977.  During this time,
Father Buescher further studied at Quincy College
in Quincy, Illinois, and Saint Louis University in
St. Louis and was appointed part-time Associate
Pastor of Hannibal Catholic Parish on August 7, 1973.

  
“He was appointed Pastor at Sacred Heart Church
in Rich Fountain and the Diocesan Youth Director
from July 15, 1977 to 1979.  In 1979, Father Buescher
was away on study at The Catholic University of
America in Washington, D.C., and served as
Campus Chaplain there until 1982.  While he was
in Washington, D.C., he spent a year in community
with the Paulist Fathers.

“On June 29, 1982, he was appointed Associate
Director of the Office of Spiritual Renewal of
the Laity and to the faculty of the Permanent
Diaconate Office until 1988.  He was appointed
Temporary Administrator of St. Brendan Church
in Mexico on August 18, 1986.

“Father Buescher was then appointed Pastor of
St. Anthony Church in Camdenton, St. Bernadette
Church in Hermitage and Our Lady of the Snows
Church in Climax Springs from July 17, 1988,
to April 16, 1990.  From April 17, 1990, to
September 10, 1994, he was assigned as Pastor
of the Church of Our Saviour, the English-speaking
international Roman Catholic parish of The Hague
in the Netherlands.

“He then returned to the Diocese of Jefferson
City and was appointed Director of the Newman
Center at the University of Missouri-Rolla, and
Associate Pastor of St. Patrick Church in Rolla
on September 3, 1994.  Father Buescher also
returned to the faculty of the Permanent
Diaconate Office and continued until his death.  

“Father Buescher was appointed Temporary
Administrator of Holy Cross Church in Cuba,
St. Francis Caracciolo Church in Bourbon
and St. Michael Church in Steelville on
March 1, 1996.  He was appointed Director
of the Lincoln University Newman Center
and Catholic Chaplain at Capital Region
Medical Center in Jefferson City on
May 15, 1997, until August 7, 1999.

“He was appointed Temporary Administrator of
St. Brendan Church, Mexico from August 7, 1999,
to June 3, 2000.  He served as a Chaplain of the
House of Representatives from January to
May 2000, and was available for weekend
supply help.

“Father Buescher was appointed Director of
the Office of Spiritual Renewal of the Laity
on July 1, 2000, to July 1, 2004. He also
worked as a Volunteer In Corrections at the
Algoa Correctional Center in Jefferson City.
He was appointed Senior Priest in Service at
the Cathedral of St. Joseph on June 30, 2001,
until he retired on July 1, 2004, due to
health reasons.

“Father Buescher celebrated his 25th Anniversary of
Priestly Ordination on June 16, 1996, at St. Patrick
Church in Rolla, Missouri.  He celebrated his 40th
Anniversary at St. Anthony Church in Camdenton
on June 26, 2011.




Rev. David G. Bueschers Facebook Friends includes three Jefferson City priests
and one implicated in the clergy sexual abuse scandal, who was asked to resign. 
They are (left to right):  the Rev. Kevin Clohessy, who was removed; the
Rev. David J. Veit; the Rev. Greg Meystrik; and the Rev. Mark Porterfield. 
Considering the range of Bueschers friendships one would think that those
ordained would be more forthright about the pedophile priest scandal in their
diocese rather than provide cover for those who have harmed children.

Bueschers Facebook Page Shows Suspect Bonds of Friendship
Even more surprising is a Facebook page established in 2011 for David Buescher.  The page has been scrubbed but still list the identities of 57 friends, which includes three priests — David J. Veit, pastor, Immaculate Conception Church, Macon; Mark Porterfield, pastor,
St. Cecilia Church, Meta; Greg Meystrik,
pastor, St. Peter’s Church, Jefferson City and Kevin Clohessy, who was dismissed from the priesthood due to allegations and a civil suit regarding the sexual assault of a teenager.  All four of Buescher’s “Friends” are graduates of St. Thomas Seminary.

We also disclosed to the media for the first time information
about seven new O’Connell victims and three new victims of
the Rev. John Whiteley. 
 
At the conclusion of the press conference the reporters turned to
Mr. Joyce for an official response.  He offered none, stating that those priests named are either retired or dead.

While Mr. Joyce was blocked by media, I walked the length of the parking to the Chancery, entered, and asked to speak with Msgr. Gregory L. Higley.  Higley and I are St. Thomas graduates (1972
and 1971, respectively) and we attended the Pontifical College Josephinum.  We were once great chums.  I thought, at first, that he would welcome me and thank me for my effort.  But as time passed in the lobby of the Chancery, I realized that Higley would not appear.  So I left a copy of the report, fearing that a call had, indeed, been made to the Jefferson City police department or the Cole County sheriff’s office. 

Two days later the Diocese of Jefferson City shut down the
St. Thomas Alumni Association website.  One year later, Bishop Gaydos not refuted any of the data in the report delivered.


 
The flier we distributed at Immaculate Conception Church, Jefferson City asks
the Three Monsignors — Higley, Cox, and Marion J. Makarewicz — to break their
silence on the tragedy of St. Thomas.  We also advised the parishioners of Cox’s
past behavior as the director of spiritual formation at St. Thomas.



The day before our press conference at the Chancery, Sunday,
6 May 2012, we stopped at Immaculate Conception Church,
Jefferson City.  Our purpose:  to remind parishioners that
Msgr. David G. Cox is a critical witness to the O’Connell travesty at St. Thomas Seminary and that he is a central character of the pedophile culture that is embedded in the church management structure of the Jefferson City diocese.


Cox willingly continues to shield the reputation of O’Connell.  Cox remains mute to protect other seminary colleagues implicated in sexual abuse cover-up at St. Thomas, including:  the Rev. Manus P. Daly, the former dean of students who succeeded O’Connell as rector; and the Rev. James P. McNally, who succeeded Daly as dean and Cox’s predecessor as director of spiritual formation.  In addition, Cox engaged in appropriate behavior with another faculty member — the Rev. Gary Pool — and turned a blind to Pool’s predatory interaction with students.

Our reception at Immaculate Conception was unsettling.  Some parishioners accepted our fliers with a smile; others appeared distraught and angered as they walked away reading our message.  Women standing on the rear portico with babies looked puzzled as we placed fliers on the windows of vehicles in the parking lot and dialed their cell phones as we walked from car to truck to SUV.

Near the end of our visit as we talked to reporters, the Cole County Sheriff’s Department SUV arrived to cruise through the lot and around the block twice.  A Jefferson City prowl car followed within minutes of the sheriff’s departure to circle the block and access the situation.  We assume that the media presence served a safety buffer — if not the real sanctuary — and convinced law enforcement to remain at a distance.

Lemuel Gulliver 2013 with a bound copy of Thy Child’s
Face: A Case Study of Criminal Negligence by the
Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo. 
The 200-page-plus
report about the cover-up of pedophile priests by
Bishop John R. Gaydos and his predecessor,  Bishop
Michael F. McAuliffe is a sad epic of corruption and
the sexual molestation of children.
 
Breaking the Silence within the Gated Community
We concluded our series of events in Jefferson City with a roundtable discussion Monday evening at the Inman E. Page Library at Lincoln University.
 
In some respects, the alumni appeared to be more concerned with observing the presenter like a jury weighing the validity of the information and curious about the specifics of sexual assault. 

The heckler, for example, was insistent that at a 14-year-old boy was capable of leaving a 7-acre campus in the middle of the night and flag down a police car to report the situation at the Hannibal seminary.  The alumni assured the heckler that this was not possible.

When the name of a popular student was disclosed as a target for O’Connell a gasp was elicited from the audience.  This student is member of the Class of 1971.  St. Thomas audience members also asked if we had had any communication from particular students as if to determine the currency of the information of the report or resolve suspicion of harm for the person in question.

The meeting concluded with the announcement by one of my classmates that O’Connell had died on Friday, 4 May 2012.  He assumed that we had prior knowledge of this information and connected it to our event.  The audience seemed surprised that we did not know of O’Connell’s death until we advised that we reserved the library three months in advance and that the report was years and months in the making.

O’Connell’s death was “circulating through the alumni network,”
my classmate said.  Those who knew O’Connell were saddened
and ashamed. 

The 15-year-tenure of Bishop Gaydos is particularly notorious.  He not dealt honestly with the Church membership.  He failed to protect the students who attended St. Thomas.  He continues to ignore the issues.  He refuses to acknowledge blame.

Our most recent encounter with this concept of Gated Community as Church was disturbing but not detrimental.

Nonetheless, we are surprised that you, Bishop Gaydos, have not defended your employee.  A year later we are saddened that you have chosen not to refute the details of our chronicle.  We can only assume that our information is correct and to the point.
 



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